One bag of kale, part 2: Potato-Kale Hash with Chickpeas

Hash browns, real true hash browns have always been a favorite of mine.  Chunks of potatoes, slabs of onions, maybe a few pieces of bell peppers all fried up together so that they get a little color and a little crispy around the edges.  Add a couple eggs, over easy and that could easily be one of the best meals to eat if you ask me.  Actually, I can live without the eggs, but the rest of it, I could eat it every day.  Unfortunately, it isn’t good for healthy diet to eat like that daily.

Rather than eliminate this from the menu, I try to make it so that it is a little less unhealthy.  Using kale to bulk up the dish is a great way to add nutrients and fiber without adding the extra starch that a larger quantity of white potatoes contains.  The chickpeas also add lots of fiber and give the dish a nice flavor.  My favorite addition to the dish is a sprinkle of Nanami Togarashi, a Japanese red pepper blend that adds a little bite and a ton of flavor.

This is a quick dish to put together and it is good for anytime of day, not just breakfast.  The next time you bake a potato, put a couple extra in the oven so that you can mix up a batch of this hash.  If you have read the previous post, Autumn Kale Salad with Butternut Squash, this recipe uses on of the small portions of kale as explained in how to divide the 1 pound bag, it is approximately 1/8 of the bag.

Potato-Kale Hash
serves 2-4
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onions
2-3 medium baked potatoes, cold and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup chickpeas, canned or cooked dry
2-3 cups kale leaves
salt and pepper
nanami togarashi
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook the onions until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the potatoes and let them cook on one side for a couple minutes.  Turn the potatoes to allow the other sides to color.  Give each side 2-3 minutes, the idea is to add a little color and crisp, not to char the potatoes.  If they are getting dark, lower the heat.  If the pan is dry, add additional oil, a few drops at a time or give it a spritz with spray oil.  When the potatoes are almost completely browned, add the garlic, chickpeas and kale and continue to saute, turning the mixture as you go, until the kale is wilted and the chickpeas have gained a little color.  Season with the salt and pepper before serving.  Sprinkle a little of the Japanese pepper blend over the top if desired.
One bag of kale recipes:

one bag of kale, part 1: autumn kale salad with butternut squash

The butternut squash with it’s coating of spices and oil before going into the oven

Kale, it’s everywhere, it’s added to every dish you can think of including sweet breakfast smoothies.  Get over it already.  Kale isn’t meant to be added to a smoothie.  Honestly, have you ever listened to someone go on and on and on as they list the ingredients in the 24 ounce smoothie they just whipped up at home?  Seems to me that if you are going to eat an apple, a banana, a tub of Greek yogurt, a scoop of peanut butter a handful of kale, a scoop of…and so on, you are probably slurping down way more than you really need and that could explain why you haven’t lost much weight.  Ranting a bit, aren’t I.  Well, can you blame me?  As a gardener and a trained chef, it irritates me to see something as nutritionally packed and tasty as kale is being so over used.

So let me start this all over again.  Kale is one of those plants that loves cold weather and is so easy to grow that it is almost impossible not to have a few plants in your garden.  As a matter of fact, kale is a plant that you can grow 3 out of 4 seasons simply by harvesting just the outer leaves and if it sends out a flower stalk, cut it out and add that to the pile of leaves you are going to cook!  One simple rule of thumb, kale should not be grown in the hotter months and for most of us, that means between May and August; not only will it bolt(go to seed) it will attract all sorts of undesirable insects to your garden.  To keep it interesting, search seed catalogs for the different varieties available; we generally grow 2 or 3 types in our garden for variety.

But what if you do not have a garden or do not want to grow your own kale?  Head to the grocery store and buy a bag of kale.  Most grocery stores offer large bags of cut cooking greens, usually kale or collard greens and they weigh a pound.  While most stores offer the traditional curly kale, some carry Tuscan kale in large bags too.

The bag is almost big enough to be a pillow and I can hear you now:  “that’s a lot of kale, I won’t be able to eat all of that!”  Well guess what?  You can eat all of that, you will not waste any of it and you will not get tired of eating it.  Why buy it in a bag instead of by the bunch even though it is a smaller amount?  Because the bag is cheaper, the kale is already cleaned and the larger, woody stems are removed making every bit in the bag usable.  This is the first of 4 posts on the blog showing you how to use the entire bag.

For the first recipe, I have decided to make a salad.  The only thing that gets cooked is the butternut squash and while the squash is in the oven, you can prep the rest of the recipe.  This salad tastes a lot better if it is allowed to sit for a few hours in the fridge and if you make it a day ahead, it will be just fine.  It actually holds up pretty well in the fridge for a couple days but it will not be as crunchy by the second day.

To get started, first divide the contents of the bag in two.  Place on half in a large mixing bowl and set it aside for the salad.  Take the remaining kale and divide it in half as well.  Place one half into the bag it came in and then divide the last portion in half again and bag each of these separately; one will be used in a hash recipe and one will be used in a soup recipe.  Store the other portions of kale in the fridge until you are ready to make the other recipes.

The recipe for the salad comes to me from a fellow blogger, Angela Roberts of The Spinach Tiger.  My husband came with me to a potluck and Angela made the salad for the party.  He liked it so much that he actually looked her recipe up and he has been using it ever since.  We both enjoy it and often use the recipe as a starting point.  For this version, I used a butternut squash instead of the sweet potatoes and I subbed dried apricots and smoked pecans for the dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds.

This is also one of those dishes that you can serve as a vegetarian entree or serve it on the side with grilled poultry or fish-you choose.  As a matter of fact, the recipe is so flexible that you can get creative with what you add to it.  You could easily swap out the kale for another green, arugula comes to mind, just be mindful that a softer green will not hold up as well as kale in the long run.

The addition of nuts adds protein so if you are keeping this vegetarian or vegan, feel free to add more than the recipe calls for.

Autumn Kale Salad with Butternut Squash
Adapted from The Spinach Tiger
Makes enough salad for 2 large entree sized portions or 4 side salads
8 ounces chopped kale, half of a bag
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Vinaigrette dressing, recipe follows
1/4 cup diced dried apricots
1/4 cup chopped smoked pecans
additional dried fruit and nuts for garnishing the salad if desired
Preheat the oven to 400.  Place the kale in a large bowl and set aside.  Toss the butternut squash with the olive oil, maple syrup, salt and the spices, place it on a baking tray and roast until soft, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let it cool.  While the squash cools, make the vinaigrette dressing.
To make the salad, add the squash, apricots, pecans and the vinaigrette to the kale in the bowl and toss to combine.  Place the salad in the fridge and let it sit for a few hours to soften.
Vinaigrette Dressing
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons pumpkin seed oil
6 tablespoons olive oil (or all olive oil)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Place the vinegar, garlic, maple syrup and mustard into the canister of a blender.  Turn the machine on to a low speed and with it running, pour the oils in in a steady stream to emulsify.  Add the salt and pepper while it is still running.
One bag of kale recipes:
Potato-Kale Hash with Chickpeas

vegan white bean and kale soup

winter is determined to stick around and make us miserable.  while the northeast gets to dig out of snowfall after snowfall, we just get colder and colder.  it is true that it does get cold in nashville and in winter, it is not uncommon for the temps to drop to the 20 degree mark.  but consecutive days with single digit lows and highs in the teens, that is not normal.  luckily, having a pot of soup simmering on the stove is all it takes to bite back the chill.

i love a good white bean soup but i find that most recipes are heavy on the beans and almost always include a large portion of smoky bacon or ham products.  what i was craving this afternoon was a good old bowl of italian style white bean and escarole soup;  a hearty broth served with beans, a little vegetable and a lot of bitter greens.  since i didn’t have any “shcarole,” i had to settle for some kale and quite honestly, it was just as good.  to keep it vegan and heart healthy, i used vegetable broth as a base, diced mushrooms to give it a “meaty” texture (and an umami factor) and to add a little authenticity, a small amount of smoke flavor.  it was all i needed to chase away the chill.

vegan white bean and kale soup
makes about 1 1/2 quarts
(about 4-12 ounce servings)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced small
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
1 cup fresh button mushrooms-about 4 large ones, diced small
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can white beans; navy, great northern or cannellini (or you can cook 1 cup dried)
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups fresh kale, torn and loosely packed in the cup
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
pinch or two of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 to 1 teaspoon smoke flavor-to your taste
if you will be cooking your own beans, do that before starting the soup.  when the beans are ready, then begin cooking the vegetables.  if you are using canned beans, drain and rinse them before adding them to the soup.
in a 4 quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  add the onions, carrots and mushrooms and saute until the onions are translucent.  add the garlic and saute for a minute or two.  add the beans, broth, thyme and red pepper flakes, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer the soup until the carrots are soft.  add the kale and smoke flavor and allow to simmer for a few minutes to wilt the kale.  season with salt and pepper and serve with freshly baked bread.

kale and ricotta quiche, #17 of 52

while wandering through my little backyard garden last week, i could see it was time to pick the kale.  we have two varieties growing and they had begun to send out flower stalks-in other words, they were going to seed.  we had overwintered them and it was time to harvest the plants.  unfortunately, our red cabbage had chosen the same route.  we never got any heads on the plants, just leaves and now flower stalks.  we love to eat cooked greens but there is only so much you can eat in one weekend.

while perusing through, i saw that the weekly challenge was winter tarts-sweet and savory.  they post links and invite members to test the recipes and then report back to them.  by the time i had looked at the list, almost all were claimed and i decided not to participate.  on closer inspection, i spied a link to a spinach and ricotta pie.  suddenly, the light bulb blinked on and i realized i had a use for some of that kale and cabbage!

using my new red pie dish, i mixed up a blue cornmeal pie crust.  i recently found a bag of blue cornmeal lurking in the freezer.  using a non hydrogenated shortening, i made a flaky pie crust that appears slightly grey and flecked with little bits of blue cornmeal.

there are two types of kale and some red cabbage in the mix.  looking at the center of the photo you will see a flower stalk from the red cabbage.  to the left of it is the kale we received from jeff poppen, the barefoot farmer and to the right is red russian kale.  all of the flower stalks i cut off were added and they taste a lot like broccoli raab

off to the garden i went-i picked a large bowl full and after washing it thoroughly, i cut it into thin strips.  the total amount ended up being about 5 cups of raw greens.   once sauteed with onions and garlic, it is hard to tell which is which.  the greens and the cabbage looked about the same.

kale and ricotta quiche
1 (9″) quiche serving 8
recipe adapted from lizthechef on
1 (9″) pie shell, homemade or purchased and partially baked
fresh kale or other greens-see above for amount
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound ricotta-i used a 15 ounce tub from the grocery store
3 eggs
1/2 cup half and half (could use sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk to help cut the richness of the cheese)
1/2-3/4 cup grated cheese-the sharper the better
salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
preheat the oven to 350.  heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  saute the onions until translucent, add the garlic and saute for a minute or two.  add the kale and saute until tender.  season the mixture with the salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg-season a little more than you think is necessary since the rich cheese custard will be on the bland side.  spread the mixture in the pie shell.  in a mixing bowl, whisk the ricotta with the eggs until smooth.  add the half and half and whisk to combine.  top the kale with the grated cheese and pour the custard into the dish.  stir up the kale a little so that some is on top of the pie-this is a thick custard and the kale will not float to the top.  bake until the custard  is set, about 45 minutes.  allow it to rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving and serve it with an acidic side dish such as a salad dressed in a vinaigrette or citrus dressing.
and as always, bake one, send me a photo and see it here.